The AFT has always been a solutions-driven union, and our new campaign, launched during TEACH on July 21, proves it once again with a fresh, practical approach to strengthening public education. As AFT President Randi Weingarten pointed out during her keynote speech, the $5 million, yearlong campaign, “Real Solutions for Kids and Communities,” stands up against attacks on public schools and offers real-world solutions to build up, rather than break down, our communities.
Summer is upon us, and parents, children and teachers are winding down from what has been an exhausting and fully operational school year—the first since the devastating pandemic. The long-lasting impact of COVID-19 has affected our students’ and families’ well-being and ignited the politics surrounding public schools. All signs point to the coming school year unfolding with the same sound and fury, and if extremist culture warriors have their way, being even more divisive and stressful.
In AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest New York Times column, she describes what it is exactly that unions do. Though unions are the most popular they have been in decades, anti-union sentiment still thrives in red states and across the nation. “Several years ago, The Atlantic ran a story whose headline made even me, a labor leader, scratch my head: ‘Union Membership: Very Sexy,’” Weingarten writes in the column. “The gist was that higher wages, health benefits and job security—all associated with union membership—boost one’s chances of getting married. Belonging to a union doesn’t actually guarantee happily ever after, but it does help working people have a better life in the here and now.” Click through to read the full column.
The bill, An Act Empowering Students and Schools to Thrive (or the Thrive Act, for short), would equip local communities with the tools and resources that students and schools need to succeed, and dramatically reduce the harm caused by the high-stakes, punitive use of standardized tests, such as state takeovers and denying students high school diplomas. “This bill is about lifting up students, lifting up schools, and lifting up communities,” says Kontos. “And it’s about freeing students and educators from the shackles of punitive, high-stakes standardized testing. Like the Student Opportunity Act, the key to victory will be grassroots advocacy and organizing, and AFT MA members must be front and center in those efforts.”
It is my sincere hope that you are well – in health and in spirit. To say that these times are trying would be a profound understatement. The situation will improve and things will get better. As we eagerly await those days, the extent to which we stay connected and together will make our effort to support our families more successful.
On March 31st, I sent a communication outlining the next phase of our remote learning effort. By way of quick reminder, the next phase begins April 27th and takes the form of interdisciplinary
The AFT is focused on the health and safety of our members, communities and students.
School and library closures related to the coronavirus pandemic have impacted hundreds of thousands of U.S. schools and libraries and affected millions of students. The AFT is working constantly to help our members and the people they serve navigate this virus, and buffer against the economic impacts. These are unique and challenging times, and information on COVID-19 is constantly evolving.
Since Massachusetts schools began closing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic last month, parents, students, and educators have spoken out and advocated for the cancellation of this year’s MCAS. On Friday, this advocacy paid off, as Governor Baker signed legislation – passed by the Legislature on Thursday – that suspends the testing requirement this year.
"The educators of AFT Massachusetts appreciate the House and Senate’s passage of legislation to waive this year’s MCAS requirement," said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. "We are glad Governor Baker signed the bill immediately so
Attacks on public education in America by extremists and culture-war peddling politicians have reached new heights (“lows” may be more apt), but they are not new. The difference today is that the attacks are intended not just to undermine public education but to destroy it.